Collaboration & Productivity in Remote Workplace? Need a Boost?

Hot Topic: Remote working environment

As a business owner, there are many discussions happening to if your organization will allow for 100% remote working. There are questions and risks that are being considered.

I have been working out of my home office since 2014 and never thought I would want to work remote. As a matter of fact, when I was in corporate office, the company was moving in the direction of remote work as an option. At this point in time, I would say…

” NO WAY! I would not be productive working out of my home. “ ~ Kelly Leslie

I always thought there was only one way for me to stay productive by being in the office.

Today as a remote worker, it would be hard to go back into an office setting on a full time basis. I can not believe how more productive I am working remote. I get more done in 6 hours, then a regular 8 hour work day in the office.

There some myths out there that working from home an employee may not be as productive, feel disconnected, or spend to much time in managing email.

First, this blog is based on my experience, so others may have other thoughts to share that are opposed.

  1. Based on the roles at a company should help determine if working remote is an option.
  2. Consider the individual opinion and support it either way.
  3. Make sure there are tools in place to assist with collaboration, transparency on projects and new expectations are clearly communicated.

Here we go….

I am excited to share, I have an amazing line-up of interview series. I will be chatting it up with leaders that come from different backgrounds to share tips on productivity, working remote, technologies to consider, and tools to ensure collaboration and productivity.

Look at the how technology is helping businesses make it easier or possible to provide an option to work remote for employees. Make sure to join me on the ……

Need a Boost Series: Connection and Productivity in Remote Workplace. Let’s Connect & Stay Tuned!

A.GAME Academy Announces… Congrats

October 2020 Class

If you do not know theses ladies you need to! I am excited to share they are the first class of A.GAME Academy Graduates. CONGRATS!

Marciana Davis

Tiffany Thomas

Mary Athieno

They showed up, participated, and contributed to A.GAME Academy’s 7 weeks course leading Projects successfully. The content covered the Project Management 10 Knowledges, 5 Project Stages (Phases), along with over 30 processes covered in PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge).

Outside the weekly class, each student had homework; reading articles, listening to podcasts, and assignments to help apply the content covered in the modules. The hard work is taking the concepts and making it applicable. We encourage the students to begin using templates provided immediately or reflect on content and relating to current or past situations. Once of the student was being to ask peers questions about how projects are lead to help tie the class content back to a project is was involved with.

Watching the learning process evolve is such an awarding and gratifying experience for me, as the instructor. If students are not able to tie the concepts learned back to real world situations, that means I am not doing my job as an instructor. This is the key part to training. It is not about telling information, rather how to obtain and apply the information.

After the course the graducate received templates used through the course, so they can use as templates and modify as needed. At the end of the day, students will have the fundamentals of how to lead projects and all the moving elements that are involved with Project Management. It will provide a framework, where students can take what applies based on each situation. As each project is different, each project managers techniques will vary, but the overall framework is there to support the success of the project.

I will be wrapping up my second class of graduates in November, which I will share more about what will be happening 2021.

Make sure to connect and follow me and stay tuned!

Happy 4th Quarter of crazy Covid year!

COVID-19 Solution: Workforce Struggles Are Real

Businesses are struggling to get back into the swing of things and creating new norms for working.  If you are a company that uses Salesforce, listen up as A.GAME Advisors has a solution to help you as we all transition into the new normal.

Do you have a backlog of Salesforce items that need to be fixed and project work that went on hold due to COVID-19? Are budgets tight and can not afford to bring in a Consultant at the current rate?

As a small business owner, I understand the new norms and struggles that are being faced.  A.GAME Advisor has a solution that will help you get items done in a way to cost-effective way while giving back to the community at the same time.

Give back to the community? 

During the last 3 months, many individuals are getting more certifications, especially in the Salesforce Community.  This is something I raved about in a previous blog, about taking this time to learn something new.

What has happened is a large gap of Salesforce customers who want to hire, but not sure about the talent due to lack of experience.  This is where you come in and support the learning community.

By participating in A.GAME Advisor Program, we match up Talent with Customers’ needs.  Here’s the catch, the Talent is matched with an A.GAME Advisor who will assist, guide, and offer help to the Talent as they deliver the work for the customer.

Consider this hybrid approach, Talent Scout mixed Job Coach, equals happier Customers.

What makes the Customer “happier”?

  1. Customers are supporting new talent and giving them experience and will be confident about delivery because of the support of the job coach.
  2. Customers will be getting more done at the fraction of the cost compared to the typical Consultant rates.
  3. Customers will have the option to hire the Talent as employees after the contract with A.GAME Advisors has expired.

If you are interested to learn more, I invite you to visit A.GAME Academy, Advisor Program page:  https://www.agameacademy.com/advisor, and click on the “Learn” button and complete the contact us page.  I will personally reach out to you to set up a time to chat and learn more about your needs and see how we can partner.

Let’s chat soon!

 

 

5 New Norms of Certainty

Six weeks we have been dealing with Covid-19 pandemic,safer at home, and social distancing.

In 6 weeks, are you aware that you are creating new habits? The new normal, has been a blessing and very difficult. In this blog I will focus on the blessings, with the intention to stay positive. We will look at my professional ‘new norms’ habits:

1. Learn. Getting hands-on with A. GAME website, creating content, design, and e-commerce. Also learning more about video editing, and navigating Zoom. Always learning has always been a ‘norm’ for me.

2. Creative. Scheduling blocks of time for content and curriculum development, this will be a ‘new norm’.

3. Collaborate. Strategically planning and expanding A. GAME business model. This is another ‘new norm’.

4. Network. Virtual coffees seem to work great. This maybe my ‘new norm’.

5. Research. Identifying gaps in the ecosystem and explore how I can fill the gaps. Yes, a ‘new norm’.

As we reflect on last 6 weeks, what are your ‘new norms’?

Track activities and determine if they will be certainly a ‘new norm’. Love to hear from you on your new normal and if it will stick.

3 Tips to Creating Certainty

Creating certainty, in an uncertain time.

shutterstock_581985622

We all are experiencing a sense of no control, isolation, and uncertainty. I want to validate these feelings during this difficult time and provide 3 tips to help create certainty in an uncertain time.  

This is a good time to listen, reflect and plan. Those of you who know me and read my blog, I call it as I see it.

I would like to share a story with you my readers in this blog.  Imaging you get a phone call from a dear friend, who is upset, shaken, and feeling uncertain.  Here is what happened:  Last Friday, I received a call in the middle of work day from Kim.  She just jumped in the facts.  “Kelly, I have been laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hell am I going to do now?” As any good friend, I sat and listened closely and heard her explain how she felt unworthy and concerned for what is next.

Here are three tips on how create certainty during this difficult time of uncertainty. 

1. CHANNEL INWARD: 

Anyone in this position as my friend, whom we will refer to as Kim, should take this time to channel inward. I asked her if she was happy with her current role and Kim explained, “as a Business Analyst it was good, but I was thinking of career change”.

Resource:  The Wisdom of Uncertainty  Headspace Article 

2.  OPENNESS TO EXPLORE: 

shutterstock_1446023618
What am I going to do with this free time?

As I listened, she made a comment “What am I going to do with this free time?” This free time is a gift to explore interests, take a course, try something new with a focus on the the next career move.  As I continued to share my insight on being granted this gift, a load was lifted off Kim’s shoulders as she responded, “I have never thought of this time as a gift, interesting.”  

Resource:  Introduction to Salesforce A.GAME Academy Complementary Sessions

3. INVEST IN YOURSELF: 

As we continued our conversation, Kim had decided it would be fun to take a pottery class and maybe consider some leadership classes.  She is worth all time, energy and money invested in herself which brings joy, creativity and certainty. 

Resource: Project Management courses  A.GAME Academy Courses

1222619254-huge

 

Together, we can beat uncertainty by 3 Tips:  channel inward, have an openness to explore, and invest in you. You are worth it! 

Join A.GAME Community, as we create certainty. 

 

Learning is Change

 

Change is everywhere.

Are you someone that likes to learn?  Are you someone who invests in your knowledge? Are you aware that learning is a form of change?

A GAME is excited to be offering a fundamental 3-part training workshop on the basics of running projects successfully.

As the ecosystem is growing and expanding rapidly, these sessions are geared toward anyone who would like to run successful projects.  Consider it a jump start in a career path or an opportunity to execute projects unofficially.

It has become apparent that the basics of managing projects are needed to share the ecosystem and are in high demand.

I have worked with many Admins, who get burnt out for day-day activities and looking for a career shifts.  Instead business analysts track, consider Project Management track, and let us jump start that career path.

1. Official Project Managers

Help organizations stay on track with managing one or multiple projects.

Ensure alignment among different business units, with clear communication.

Assist prioritize and support teams and manage leadership expectations.

Project Management roles bring great value to any company, any industry, and provides growth personally and professionally.

2. Admin with unofficial Project Managers tendencies

You want to stay as an active Admin role, consider leading projects unofficially by gaining knowledge on basic unit fundamentals of Project Management.

3. Consultants need Project Management tendencies

If you are either an experienced or new consultant, you too will benefit from understanding how to run projects successfully. Even if it’s unofficially part of your role, it is key to the delivery of projects is your job, however, unspoken responsibilities would be to manage the timeline, scope, and budget.

No matter the role, invest in yourself, or have your company invest in your skills. These are skills across all industries and sizes of businesses and will only help your career path.

Sign up until March 30 and receive the professional curiosity price. A GAME Academy

 

Announcing… A.GAME Academy

A-Game-Academy-1000px

We are excited to share A.GAME will be offering adult learning sessions on Business, Salesforce, and FinancialForce all created for learners, with expectations for the learner to implement knowledge immediately.

  • Are you burnt out?
  • Are you overwhelmed?
  • Are you someone seeking new skills?
  • Are you looking to change or advance your career?

If you answered yes to one or more of these items, consider A.GAME Academy  Project Management Fundamentals course. The course will be a small group of 4 learners, in a virtual interactive environment, and focused on learners and your performance.

By the end of the 3 sessions:

  1. Learners will be able to state the 4 stages of projects.
  2. Leaners will get hands-on with creating project key documents to initiate and plan projects effectively.
  3. Learners will be able to incorporate 8 project knowledge areas into day-day responsibilities.

 

Learn more and register for the Project Management Fundamentals Course. 

 

 Join A.GAME Academy as we are building

a strong community of learners to support technology.

Implementor, Consultants, Contractors, Subcontractors…Oh My!

I have a story I would like to share about a Client interaction that left me shocked but made me realized misconceptions of Consulting industry specific to Salesforce ecosystem.

I want to set the stage of why this blog is important for Consulting companies, potential Salesforce Customers and even existing Salesforce Customers.  Salesforce ecosystem is expanding and growing at rapid pace.

“According to new research from IDC, Salesforce and its ecosystem of customers and partners will drive $1.2 trillion in new business revenues and 4.2 million new jobs worldwide between 2019 and 2024. The growing demand for Salesforce solutions presents a massive opportunity for Salesforce partners—in fact, many have reported that their Salesforce practices are growing by more than 50% annually”            Salesforce Blog

What does this mean for the Salesforce ecosystem:

  1.  Salesforce Consulting companies are increasing.
  2.  Investing in right partnerships will be key to success of any project.

Back to the conversation with a client (whom I will reference as Sally).

Sally and I have weekly Project Management weekly check in call.  We were discussing roadblocks and happen to identify a major gap with the resources staffed on the implementation project.

Sally asked this question:  ” What I am hearing you say, is we (the Client) purchased consulting service as a low cost and we (the client) cut corners on important items during the scoping.”  Sally paused.

I sat there holding my breathe, processing her comment.

Sally continued, “In other words, we (the client) paid for consulting services relative to a price point of a Pinto car, when we should have been paying the price to get the Porsche we needed.”

I exhaled and responded “Yes”.

Sally did make it clear, it was not the level of service provided or with the delivery team. Rather, Sally realized a deeper understanding of what level of service was purchased and what level they actually needed.

As the ecosystem continues to expand, it is very important that partners and customers are aligned on terminologies on roles in what I find in the ecosystem.

Role Definitions: 

Implementors:  Experts in getting clients up and running quickly, with using standard setup and configurations to accomplish. Usually resulting into phase approached projects.

Consultants:  Experts in improving business processes by asking to understand current processes and/or if there are not any processes in place, the Consultants will assist the Client in discovering the best approach based on technology and market needs.  

Contractors:  Hands-on Expert.  Admin, Project Manager, Change Manager are roles that can fill the avoid of missing roles on the project.  Typically, client does not have current resources on project to fill this space.

Subcontractors:  Contractors that work with Implementors and Consultants companies that have specific area of expertise.

Maybe you are asking yourself, what is the difference? There is a big different in each role and understand what value they bring.  It is key for Customers  to have a pulse on 3 areas before starting the vetting process.

  • Project Resources
  • Customer work culture
  • Data

STEP 1:  Current resource pool.

  • Do you have representation to help with day-day activities of the tool?
    • In the Salesforce and FinancialForce ecosystem this would be considered System Admin.
  • Do you have a resource identified to drive the change, communication, manage testing, training?
  • Do you have a  resource who will help manage budget, timeline and tasks?

STEP 2:  Work environment and how change is handled in the organization.

  • When was the last time change happened and what was the reaction?
  • How was communication handled about the change?
  • Are there specific people who resist transition?

STEP 3:  Lastly, think about what business systems (tools) may be affect or impacted by this new technology.

  • Do you have a resource on the project that is data guru?
  • Does the data need to cleansed or duplicated?
  • Are there any systems going away?
  • Integration that will need to be considered?

 

Now, if the customer has done their pre-vetting process addressing Step 1 – Step 3, they are ready to determine which Partners would be the right fit for the project.

If any of this is overwhelming, we should connect.   A.GAME Consulting assist clients’ to save time, eliminate confusion and bring cost-effective solutions for long-term success in adapting change.  It is ideal to partner with someone who can guide you through the pre-vetting process, partner vetting,  life of the project, and support post go-live.

Cheers~

Mistakes Leaders Make With Change

In the last decade, almost every customer I have engaged with during an implementation of new technologies, expressed feelings;  overwhelmed, frustrated and even confused.  I took that as a learning opportunity and started to explore different methods to how I was consulting these unhappy and confused customers.

Consulting is an Art.  Consulting is Agile.

I started deeper conversations with clients, quickly realized it was the workplace culture and how leadership was not managing the transition effectively. 

I started researching resistance change in workplace. That is when fell upon Dale Carnegie class on “Lead Change Effectively”.

Lead Change Certificate 2019

 

I am about to blow your minds with Dale Carnegie’s:  8 Most Common Change Leadership Mistakes.

Please know these are my responses and did you know based off Carnegies’ 8 categories.

 

1. Implementing too much change in too short a timeframe  

  • YES! This is number one in my consulting book.  Seems like customers want to have everything ‘done’ for go-live with an unrealistic date picked without thinking of the impact on users and the their experience.
  • Response:  Clients’ and Consultants slow down and consider a phased approach to the next change. With a phased approach, users get to ‘real’ life experience using the tool, and might express pain for manual processes.
    • Did you know:  User’s  pain will quickly turn into motivation for the next phase. This also gives the users skin in the game, be listen too and overall increase user adoption.

 

2. Lack of a long term vision and strategy

  • Oh another great one! With an implementation of new technology, consultant partners do a great job getting customers to the finish line.
  • Response:  Clients’ will want to ensure the change ties back to a business strategy with a vision of long term goals.
    • Did you know:  Planning and staffing for how to manage this ongoing change have a great impact on the business long term vision.

 

3. Not making a convincing case for change

  • Yuppers! Leadership knows why change is happening, but does the Staff?
  • Response:  Leadership start conversations early, asking input and feedback about the change. It’s amazing how quickly buy-in happens and excitement will happen when there is continued conversations.
    • Did you know: Communication is a key method to adopting change in the workplace.

 

4. Limited individuals skills

  • In my Consulting book, this would be number 2.
  • Response:  Leadership make sure skillset on the team have been identified either before project kicks off or immediately following the change.  Make sure to invest in training in additional training for those individuals managing the change.
    • Did you know:  Leaders who plan ahead and include training costs in budget, have smoother transitions and less resistance to change.

 

Half way done.  Thought I would make sure readers understand the bullet points listed are my thoughts.  But Carnegie studies provided the 8 common mistakes.  Back at it…

 

5.  Shortage of organizational resources

  • This is hard one for companies to understand and/or plan for, as they do not know what they do not know.
  • Response:  Very common when initiatives start strong, but then day-day work happens for project members, slowing and delaying the results of project.
    • Did you know:  Having a resource dedicated to the managing the change effort will result in seeing the change to completion.  Third parties seems to be best partners for this role.

 

6. Leadership resistance to changing roles

  • Ouch! This is one really hurts any change.
  • Response:  Resist may occur when leaders see an eroding of their control or responsibility as an outcome of the change.  Make sure this is addressed before implementation change is consider.
    • Did you know:  Bottom up approach is hard method and lacks the ability to impact behavior. Typically, results in the staff leaving the organization.

 

7.  Failing to integrate and align all change initiatives

  • Believe it or not, I see this a lot in my role.
  • Response:  Think about all the other systems and processes that may be impacted before starting the project. Consider flow diagrams to show the flow of data, processes and think how this will effect the change.  (Risk Analysis, for the Project Managers reading this).
    • Did you know:  If this is not thought through in the beginning of the project planning, it will quickly caught up and impact cost and delay timeline.

 

8. Poor follow-through, measurement and monitoring of change outcomes

  • This is key to understanding how the culture handles transition.
  • Response:  A. GAME Consulting are experts to help Clients define key measurements upfront and throughout the project.
    • Did you know:  Questions to consider how much were systems and processes improved by the change? How well was the change accepted and embraced. These questions are never asked during implementation and should be practice.

 

As a strategist for change, A.GAME Consulting will assist clients to save time, eliminate confusion and bring cost-effective solutions for long-term success in adapting change.  We focus on the resistance to change and understand behaviors in the workplace during transitions.

A.GAME will work one-one; on project teams; or provide small group training to professionals to become change leaders at their workplace.

I hope you enjoyed my take on the 8 common mistakes made by leaders.  Reach out anytime via @chattyadmn on twitter and continue the conversation on change.

Post #DF19, Now What?

Although, I was not at DF#19, Kelly Leslie understands the post DF19 struggles.  With that said, Kelly founder of A.GAME Consulting will be hosting a 45 minutes webinar session to help create and channel energy into productivity.

With an easy 7 Steps Action Plan, attendees will have the foundation to not think, just do all within 3 weeks.  If attendees follow this plan, by December 20, Salesforce knowledge will be shared, sponsored and moving on 2020 Salesforce Roadmap.  In addition, A.GAME Consulting will be holding a follow up session on December 20 to ensure progress in the plan is happening.

Please check the Events tab to register or click on on  7 Steps Action Plan(here).

A.GAME Consulting would like to thank  OpMentors for supporting 7 Steps webinar session.  As A.GAME Consulting is expanding services to include change management and project management, it made sense to align with other consulting companies  that has passion for  business process and technology, and allow me to bring passion for the people into business models.

Did you know Jocelyn, COO / Co-Founder & Salesforce MVP was hosted DF19 Customer 360 for SMB? Check it out and learn more about Customer 360 for Small Business.